Slowing to Hear God's Wish
My word for this year is slow. My personal resolution for this month is to improve our family meals--slowing down for cooking and conversations. And my creative goal for this quarter is less learning and more doing--especially writing on inspiration I've had and has continued to grow since 2012.
Put all of those things together and we get the rest of this blog post.
Our 2-year-old saw me working on peeling and cutting potatoes for breakfast and asked, "Is that apples, mommy?"
Um, no, son.
I've clearly not made real potatoes in a long time. At first I almost skipped it. I mean, being up all night with a vomiting toddler is a perfect excuse to pass on slowing for homemade. But I did it anyway, peeling, cutting, seasoning. And I realized how much I miss it. I've never been much of a cook, but I've definitely done considerably less of it since Baby 3. And I miss the slow rhythms of feeding my family.
These days, slow isn't natural for me and sometimes it's just flat-out not desirable.
Sharon Hodde Miller shared her experience of taking the long, slow path to writing her book on my friend Merritt's podcast. She shared the lessons she has learned along the way, and at some point Merritt asked her what advice she would give to someone wanting to skip that long, slow path. How might they learn from her struggles to get to the end result a little quicker? (Listen to the episode to hear the full conversation.)
It got me thinking about how we always want the shortcut. We want the meal without all the prep. We want to skip the fall of mankind and think of how we might have done things different than Adam and Eve. We want to not wander in the wilderness and think of how we wouldn't complain or misbehave like the Israelites did. We want the book without the life lessons to fill it.
Yet, by doing that, by looking for the shortcuts and imagining ways we wouldn't mess up, we're unknowingly removing Jesus from the equation. We're saying that we don't need His salvation, or we'd like to avoid needing it if at all possible. We forget that the fall and the struggle and the wander is the very reason we get to experience rescue and hope and grace. (Lots more on this to come, because it's the heart of the message inspiring me.)
Trying to find the shortcut only shortcuts our stories.
Last night our 6-year-old threw a huge fit about the meal I had spent 45 minutes preparing, before he even got to the table. So, later after everyone else was done and gone and my husband had spent a good while diffusing the situation, I returned to give my husband a break.
As my son finished the part of the meal he finally decided he liked, and I washed the dishes, I tried explaining to him what it's like to work hard cooking a meal and then be met with whining and complaining before the food had even been tried. That it's a little like how he felt the day before when he worked so hard meticulously placing tiny beads on a heart formation and his little brother knocked it all on the floor. I asked if he remembered how that felt.
He seemed kind of thoughtful, even sad thinking about his hard work that had been swiped away in a second. Then, as if something clicked, he responded, "It's kind of like a wish not coming true."
You bet, bud. Every meal I labor over that my kids refuse to eat is like my wish for them, for me, for our family, not coming true.
Today, those words came back around to me in a way I didn't expect.
I've been in a rut of growth and writing and figuring out what I'm doing "here" and what I'm doing next. Last week I answered some questions in a sort of interview over the phone and talked about my faith and writing and blogging. When asked what I hoped would eventually come of it, all I could admit was the unknown. And it's true. I'm so hopeful for God to come through and lead in ways I don't even know to ask for right now.
Still, I used to get a little more specific. I used to be brave enough to admit I felt God calling me to writing and speaking. Now, thinking that makes me feel like I don't even want it anymore. I feel scared that God might actually come through to lead me to speak and write and I'd fail. That perhaps my 7-year-old dream of being a secretary (because I didn't know writing could be a career) might be the safer, more comfortable route. Or maybe God doesn't want to use my writing and speaking as much as I've pleaded with Him to do so.
I've been turning this all over and over in my mind. Thoughts that carry away and prayers that formulate as I slow to peel and cut and prepare food or as I fold and stack and put away clean laundry. Words that come as I slow. The everyday mundane where a mustard seed of faith is all you need to grow something beyond recognition.
The laundry is what I was working on today as I listened to a podcast. God said words that hit me deep enough, clear enough, personal enough I had to pause the episode to go sit on the toilet seat and cry.
I heard God say: "Trina, every time you procrastinate on writing that message I've been scripting into your heart and every time you say 'but this calling isn't a real thing for me to do,' it's like My wish for You isn't coming true."
That's the last thing I'd ever want is for God's wish for me to not come true. Yet, I discredit Him or chicken out or quit following His plan because it's just taking too long. And it hit me, that's exactly what I've been doing--or rather, not doing. Looking for any reason to believe His wish for me has changed or I somehow got it wrong, then not following through.
There are no shortcuts. Clearly. Just lots more pieces filtering in these slow moments. More to what God is speaking into my life and where He is leading. More of His words growing in my heart and flowing through my fingers.
If I would just let Him.
So, with all of that, I'm continuing to slow, continuing to homecook more of our meals, and continuing to write words that have been growing in my heart for years now. It's time just as much as it was 4 years ago. And I can't let the lack of shortcuts cause me to give up on Him.
God has a beautiful wish for my life.
And I believe He has a beautiful wish for your life, too.
Let's slow to hear Him. Then be faithful to follow Him the long way.
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